Acquired from the Mariners in an offshoot of the Sonny Gray trade in January, Stowers has a chance to have four average or better tools, with his arm the lone exception. Otto has had difficulty staying healthy but can reach 97 mph and devastate hitters with his curveball when he’s at 100 percent.
Ray Herbert, who won 20 games for the White Sox and was an All-Star in 1962, passed away at the age of 93.
Herbert pitched for the Tigers (1950-1951, 1953-1954, missed 1952 due to military service during Korean Conflict), Kansas City A’s (1955, 1958-1961), White Sox (1961-1964) and Phillies (1965-1966).
In that 1962 season, he was 20-9, 3.27, ERA+ 120 and finished 29th in MVP voting.
Herbert led the AL in shutouts in 1963 with 7.
For his career, Herbert was 104-107, 4.01, ERA+ 96. His 162-game average was 11-11, 4.01.
On August 12, 1964, Herbert started against Mel Stottlemyre at Yankee Stadium. It was Stottlemyre’s first MLB game, and the Yankees and Stottlemyre beat Herbert and the White Sox, 7-3.
In his first MLB at bat, Stottlemyre singled off of Herbert.
In the bottom of the fourth, with the Yankees trailing 2-1, Mickey Mantle led off the inning with a long fly to CF. Mantle, knowing the dimensions of the Stadium, threw down his bat in disgust, only to watch the ball go over the 461′ sign and 23′ high screen for what was said to be a 502′ home run. Granted there was a strong wind blowing out that day, but still…
As Stottlemyre said when he saw Mantle throw down his bat in disgust, “If that ain’t far enough for him, what is?” Of course, Mickey didn’t think it would carry that far. (See below photo). Mantle hit another HR that day, not off of Herbert but off Frank Baumann. Besides Mantle’s 2 HR that day, Clete Boyer hit one off Herbert, and Roger Maris hit one off of Don Mossi. Stottlemyre pitched a complete game victory.
Gary Peters, lefty pitching ace of the good-pitching/weak-hitting White Sox teams of the mid-1960s, has passed away at the age of 85. Peters combined with Tommy John and Joe Horlen to form a formidable trio that got little run support.
Peters pitched for the White Sox from 1959-1969, then for the Red Sox from 1970-1972.
He pitched only two games—totaling one inning—for the AL Champ 1959 White Sox.
From 1959-1962 he only got in 12 MLB games, pitching only 21 innings, and giong 0-1, 3.00.
So, in 1963 he still qualified as a rookie, and he won the ROY Award by going 19-8 and by leading the AL with an ERA of 2.33. He also finished 8th in the MVP voting. Peters was given MVP consideration 3x, and each time he finished in the top 10.
In 1964, the White Sox finished second, just one game behind the Yankees for the AL pennant. Peteres led the AL with 20 wins, was an All-Star (the first of two occasions) and finished 7th in MVP voting with a 20-8, 2.50 mark.
Peters again led the AL in ERA in 1966 with a 1.98 mark. In 1967, the White Sox finished 4th in a tight 4-team race, just 3 games behind the pennant winning Red Sox. Peters was 16-11, 2.28 and earned his second and last All-Star nod while finishing 9th in MVP voting.
Peters didn’t put up those kinds of numbers after 1967, although he did go 16-11, 4.06 in 1970 and 14-11, 4.37 in 1971.
For his career, Peters was 124-103 with an ERA of 3.25, ERA+ 106. His 162-game average was 13-11, 3.25.
For a pitcher, Peters was a pretty good hitter, hitting .222 with 19 HR. He batted lefty as well. He had seasons of .259, .235, .244 and .271.
Scott Rolen was the only player selected by the BBWAA today for the Hall of Fame.
Rolen, who baseball-reference.com has listed as the 10th best 3B of all time, played for the Phillies (1996-2002), Cardinals (2002-2007), Blue Jays (2008-2009) and Reds (2009-2012). Based on his stats, it is a tossup whether he should go into to Hall as a Phillie or as a Cardinal.
Rolen was a 7x All-Star who won 8 Gold Glove awards. He was the 1997 ROY, won 1 Silver Slugger Award and was on the 2004 NL Pennant and 2006 WS Champion Cardinals. He received MVP consideration 4x, finishing in the top 10 once (4th in 2004).
His 162-game average was .281-25-102, OPS+ 122. He hit 316 HR.
In 39 postseason games, he hit .220-5-12.
Rolen barely made it in. He made it by 5 votes, getting 76.3%, with 75% needed for election.
Getting 50% or more were:
Todd Helton 72.2% (missed by 11 votes) Billy Wagner 68.1 Andruw Jones 58.1 Gary Sheffield 55 Next year is his last chance.
Jeff Kent got 46.5% in his last year on the ballot. Staying on the ballot besides the 4 listed above were Carlos Beltran (46.5), A-Rod (35.7), Manny Ramirez (33.2), Omar Vizquel (19.5), Andy Pettitte (17), Bobby Abreu (15.4), Jimmy Rollins (12.9), Mark Buehrle (10.9), Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez 10.8 and Torii Hunter 6.9
You need 5% to stay on the ballot. Getting votes but dropping off were Bronson Arroyo, R. A. Dickey, John Lackey, Mike Napoli, and Huston Street (who voted for these guys?)
Not getting any votes were: Matt Cain, Jacoby Ellsbury, Andre Ethier, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta, Jered Weaver and Jayson Werth.
Coming onto the ballot next year are: Adrian Beltre (ranked 4th best 3B ever, over 3000 hits, over 470 HR, should be a first-ballot HOF), Bartolo Colon (will get some votes, but not HOF), Chase Utley (has a good case, we will see how many votes he gets to start out with 12th best 2B ever but in 16 year career, his stats are built on 5 superb years, other 11 good but not HOF quality), Joe Mauer (very good case. 7th best C ever, .306, MVP, 3 batting titles for a C) as well as David Wright, Jose Bautista, Matt Holliday, Victor Martinez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Jose Reyes. There are others but those are the biggest names.
To me, Beltre and Mauer are no-doubters. Utley needs a bit of review (interesting he and Rollins will both be on the ballot).
Wright is kind of like Don Mattingly. Great career for a while but shortened because of a bad back. Needed a few more (4 or 5?) great years.
The others (Colon, Bautista, Holliday, Martinez, Gonzalez and Reyes) were very good, but to me, not HOF.
Info taken from mlb.com, with my thoughts/opinions.
People will have their own ideas. But it looks like next year’s favorites may be Helton, Wagner, Beltre and Mauer.
Catching up on some minor and major things. Minnesota traded Luis Arraez to the Marlins for Pablo Lopez. Lopez was rumored to be a Yankees’ target but the asking price was too steep. When I heard Arraez was on the block, I hoped the Yanks could get him, but a) they didn’t have the pitching prospects the Twins wanted, and b) Arraez, although versatile and who could play LF, isn’t that great defensively.
The Yankees named Shelley Duncan as their AAA manager at SWB. Duncan was a Yankee for 68 games from 2007-2009 before going to Cleveland and Tampa Bay from 2010-2013. Shelley is the brother of Chris and son of Dave Duncan. His dad was a long-time coach after his playing career ended so Shelley can draw on his father for some coaching advice.
Prospects are suspects. No matter how highly regarded prospects are, not all pan out (Remember Jesus Montero? Clint (now Jackson) Frazier? Jose Tabata)? Didn’t make the impact in the majors you though they would. Well, Miguel Andujar was just DFA’d by Pittsburgh. Andujar was 2nd in ROY voting in 2018 (.297-27-92 with 47 doubles) but never was the same after a 2019 shoulder injury, hitting just .230 with 8 HR since then in 114 MLB games. And Justus Sheffield was DFA’d by Seattle after going just 12-12, 5.47 in 48 games (33 starts) for them. The Yanks have top prospects in Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, Oswaldo Cabrera, Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Jones, Everson Pereira and Austin Wells, but how many of them will make it? You hope for another “Core 4” but you never know.
Lastly, a notable passing. Sal Bando, 3B for the A’s dynasty that won 3 straight WES from 1972-1974 has passed away at the age of 78. That team is the only team other than the Yankees (1936-1939, 1949-1953 and 1998-2000) to win 3 WS in a row. Bando played for the A’s (Kansas City and Oakland) from 1966-1976 and then for the Milwaukee Brewers 1977-1981. He was a 4x All-Star who got MVP consideration 7x. Three of those times he finished in the top 10 for MVP voting.
1971 RUNNERUP in MVP voting to teammate Vida Blue. .271-24-94, OPS+ 137. 1973 4th in MVP. .287-29-98, Led AL in doubles and total bases. OPS+ 150. 1974 3rd in MVP. .243-22-103. Led MLB in SF. OPS+ 130.
Bando averaged 154 games a year from 1968-1979, averaging .257-20-83, OPS+ 122. His 162-game average for his career was .254-19-83, OPS+ 119.
In 44 postseason games, he hit .245-5-13.
Baseball-Reference has Bando listed as the 16th best 3B of all-time. He only spent 1 year on the HOF ballot, getting just 3 out of 413 votes. I am not saying he is a Hall of Famer, and think he just misses out, but he should have received more consideration that that.
There were two players named Frank Thomas in MLB history. One hit 521 HR and won back-to-back MVP awards.
The other one wasn’t too bad either. That other one just passed away at the age of 93. The “other” Frank Thomas played for the Pirates (1951-1958), Reds (1959), Cubs (1960-1961), Braves (1961), Mets (an original 1962 met, too) (1962-1964), Phillies (1964-1965), Astros (1965), Braves again (1965), and Cubs again (1966).
Thomas was a 3x All-Star who got MVP consideration 5x, including a 4th place finish in 1958 (.281-35-109).
A right-handed pull hitter, Thomas hit 34 HR and drove in 94 runs for the awful (40-120) 1962 original Mets, taking advantage of 279′ down the LF line at the Polo Grounds. An overhang of the upper deck made it only 256′ if you got the ball in the air. You had to pull the ball though, because LCF was 445′, and the CF clubhouse was listed at 475′! Thomas’ 34 HR stood as the Mets record until Dave Kingman broke it in 1975.
Thomas also hit 30 HR and drove in 102 runs in his first full season of 1953 with the Pirates, when he finished 18th in MVP voting.
Mostly a LF, Thomas also played CF, 1B, and 3B. He had the nicknames of the Big Donkey and The Original.
Thomas had a spat with teammate Dick Allen in 1965, which led to Thomas being traded (and fans sided with Thomas, Allen being booed in Philadelphia for years). Later, Allen asserted that the two became good friends.
In his heyday, from 1953-1963, Thomas averaged 140 games a year, .268-25-80, OPS+ 110. He hit .266 for his career with 286 HR. His 162-game average was .266-26-88, OPS+ 107.
He never played in the postseason, coming closest in 1964 when the Phillies picked him up for the stretch drive to play 1B (The regular 1B, John Herrnstein, only hit .234-6-25). Thomas (who, in 99 games for the Mets and Phils hit .271-10-45) got hurt in early September and later that month, the Phils went into their famous “Phold”, blowing a 6 1/2 game lead by losing 10 games in a row. By the time they won their last two games of the season, it was too late, and they finished in a tie for second, 1 game behind the eventual WS Champion Cardinals.
Bill Campbell, a 1x All-Star relief pitcher who pitched for the Twins (1973-1976), Red Sox (1977-1981), Cubs (1982-1983), Phillies (1984), Cardinals (1985), Tigers (1986) and Expos (1987), passed away on January 6. Campbell went 17-5, 3.01, 20 saves (all in relief) for the Twins in 1976 and finished 7th in CYA and 8th in MVP voting that year. He led MLB in winning percentage and games finished, and the AL in games.
In 1977, he was an All-Star for Boston, going 13-9, 2.96 (once again all in relief. He only started 9 MLB games). He led the AL in games and saves (31). Besides his only All-Star selection that year, he was 5th in CYA (won by another reliever, Sparky Lyle) and 10th in MVP voting.
Campbell, nicknamed “Soup”, led MLB in games pitched in 1983 with 82.
He went 5-3, 3.50 for the NL Champ Cardinals in 1985, and was 0-0, 1.42 in six postseason games for them that year.
Campbell’s lifetime record was 83-68, 3.54, ERA+ 111, 126 saves. His 162-game average was 8-7, 3.54, 12 saves.
Campbell was 74.
Also passing away was Carl Duser on January 5 at the age of 90. Duser was born in Hazelton, PA, about an hour’s drive from me. He pitched in three MLB games, going 1-1, 7.88 for the 1956 and 1958 Kansas City Athletics (2 games in 1956 and 1 in 1958). His obituary mentions striking out Mickey Mantle, but that had to be in an exhibition game, since none of the three regular season games he pitched in were against the Yankees.
Nate Colbert, a 3x All-Star who still reigns as the Padres’ all-time HR leader, has passed away at the age of 76.
Colbert, a righty-hitting 1B (and sometimes LF) played for the Astros (1966, 1968), the Padres (1969-1974), the Tigers (1975), Expos (1975-1976) and A’s (1976). He was an All-star in 1971-1973 and finished 8th in MVP voting in 1972 when he hit .250-38-111 with 15 SB.
On August 1, 1972, Colbert hit 5 HR and drove in 13 runs in a doubleheader.
From 1969 (the Padres’ first season) to 1973, Colbert averaged .260-30-85 with an OPS+ of 132 (100 is average).
Back troubles led to a subpar year in 1974 and forced him to retire at the age of 30 after the 1976 season. – For his career, Colbert hit .243 with 173 HR. OPS+ 119. His 162-game average was .243-28-84. Besides the 38 HR in 1972, he also hit 38 in 1970.
The Yankees went to the bargain basement again for another lefty-hitting OF. It really looks like unless they can dump salary in a trade, that this will be the way to go for a LF. Either internally via Hicks, Cabrera or Florial or by trying to get a bargain like McKinney, Calhoun, or this latest signing, Rafael Ortega, to a minor league deal.
Ortega, 31, has played for the Rockies (2012), Dodgers (2016), Marlins (2018), Braves (2019) and Cubs (2021-2022). In 364 MLB games he has hit .250 with an OPS+ of 88. He can play all 3 OF positions and his 162-game average is .250-9-45 with 18 SB. OPS+ 88. Last season in 118 games for the Cubs he hit .241-7-35 with 12 SB.
As I mentioned in a previous posting, the Yankees brought in Brian Sabean as an advisor to Brian Cashman. Great move. Sabean, along with Gene Michael, helped to build the Yankees dynasty (via the core 4 and Bernie) of 1996-2003. After going to SF, where he has been for the last 30 years, Sabean won 3 WS there. Great addition for the Yankees to bring him back.
Finally in this report, a passing to relay. Stefan Wever, who had one MLB game in his career, died at the age of 64. Wever’s only MLB game came in 1982 when he started and lost a game for the Yankees on Sept. 17, getting knocked out in the third inning after giving up 9 runs, 8 earned.
I don’t know how much up against a budget Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is, but he did sign two outfielders yesterday on the cheap. Rumor are that the Yanks are around $290MM in payroll and that they don’t want to go over the next level of $293MM. So, before they’d get someone pricy, salary would have to be shed (Donaldson, Hicks).
With that in mind, and the Yanks still looking for a LF, preferably one that hits lefty, Cashman did some “dumpster diving”.
One was Billy McKinney, signed to a minor league contract and assigned to AAA. You may remember the name. McKinney was a Yankees prospect who began his MLB career with the Yanks but was traded after just two games. McKinney has played for the Yankees (2018), Blue Jays (2018-2020), Brewers (2021), Mets (2021), Dodgers (2021) and A’s (2022). So, he’s been around. In 263 MLB games, he has hit .206 and has an OPS+ of 78 (100 is average). He has played mostly RF in his career but has also put in time in LF and at 1B. McKinney made $700,000 last year. His 162-game average is .206-17-44. He is 28.
The other signing is a non-roster invite. Willie Calhoun, a former top prospect for Texas. Calhoun has played for the Rangers (2017-2022) and Giants (2022). Also 28, Calhoun hit 21 HR in only 83 games for Texas in 2019. Two HBP, one in 2020 and the other in 2021 have slowed down his career. The first broke his jaw, the second, his forearm. He is a .240 hitter for his career, with an OPS+ of 85. His 162-game average is .240-20-66. Calhoun has only played LF.
Both are long shots, and it seems that Calhoun has the better chance to stick. Offensively the edge would be with Calhoun, defensively, McKinney. Calhoun made $1.3MM last year.
Both low-cost, low-risk, signings. Both lefty-hitting OF. Good for a look-see. Hope to catch lightning in a bottle and get high reward (think Matt Carpenter last year).